The Earps

 

In the early morning hours of July 6th, 1900, Warren Earp took a fatal bullet at the Headquarter saloon in Willcox.  At the time, the barroom was filled with cowboys still celebrating the July 4th holiday.  The killer John Nathan Boyett and Warren Earp walked into the saloon together at about 1:30 am, arguing between themselves.  Both likely had been drinking elsewhere.  Some men playing cards overheard Warren telling Johnny he'd learned Boyett had been offered $150 to kill him.  Johnny answered that he wasn't looking for trouble, to which Warren taunted, "Go get your gun... I have mine." Boyette  shouted, "I'm not afraid!" then stormed out of the saloon.  Earp, meanwhile, ducked out the back.  Minutes later Boyett burst through the front door gripping a six shooter in each hand.  "Where is that son of a bitch?" he shouted.  The card players took the hint and abandoned their game. Others made a hasty exit from the building.  Earp would have been wise to stay away, but he walked back into the barroom, where he dared the enraged Boyett to shoot.  Warren even advanced toward Johnny, jeering as he opened his coat to make a better target.  Four shots rang out, perhaps by way of a warning, but Earp didn't turn away.  The fifth shot found Warren's heart, killing him instantly.

 

Later Mary Katherine Cummings (aka Big Nose Kate), mentioned the affair in an interview. Cummings lived 15 miles from Willcox in 1900 when Boyett Killed Warren, thus she heard all the news.  "Warren Earp's death in Willcox," she reportedly said, "was the result of an altercation between two individuals involved in an unnatural male relationship."

 

Wild West Magazine  February 2014 by Phyllis de la Garza

 

It is rumored that by August of 1900, Wyatt Earp snuck out of Alaska and met with his brother Virgil Earp to travel to Willcox to investigate the murder of their brother Warren. Wyatt and Virgil were still not liked by many in the area due to the OK Corral shootings less then 20 years earlier, and were still wanted men in Arizona.  Therefore they took precautions to not be noticed by anyone.  They grew beards and hid out at the near by Cochise Hotel where their old friend Doc Holliday's girlfriend, Big Nose Kate, was working.  After their investigation they mysteriously left the territory without any vengeance, or even being noticed.

 

Pictured in the photo at the top of the page ( left to right): Wyatt Earp, Warren Earp, Virgil Earp. This is one of many photos in the collection at the Cochise Hotel.

 

 

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